Norris Geyser Basin looks like the surface of the moon with far-stretching areas of steaming feature, no vegetation, and a white landscape. It is the oldest and hottest thermal area in Yellowstone National Park. It’s location is at the intersection of multiple faults, fractures, and fissures in the Earth’s crust.
Located at the northwest part of the lower loop, Norris is 21 miles south of mammoth Hot Springs, 13 miles north of Madison (near west entrance); 29 miles north of Old Faithful; and 12 miles west of the Yellowstone Grand Canyon. It’s central location makes it easy to add to your itinerary depending on what points you’re travelling from and to.
The geysers each have unique identities and features and bear names like: Basin, Fireball, Whirlgig, Pinwheel, Steamboat, Echinus, Veteran, Vixen, Monarch, Minute, Porkchop & Pearl. Just below the parking lot at the base of the Porcelain Basin Trail, is the Norris Geyser Basin museum.
Built in 1930, it is historic in and of itself and is one of the park’s original structures. Stop here for an educational break from your stroll and learn more about all of the geothermal features of the basin.
The boardwalk was a nice long walk and the landscape was a vast white basin – I’ve never seen anything like that before. Steamboat Geyser is the tallest spout of the park, recorded at 380 feet. If you see it erupt, count yourself very lucky – it erupts unpredictably every 4 days to 50 years?!
Other more reliable and smaller geysers gave plentiful entertainment along the walk. We spent a little over an hour walking around this spot and it kept the attention of our young adventurers (although there is quite a bit of walking involved to see everything). Be sure to bring water bottles and comfortable walking shoes.
On Day 2, we saw the Norris Geyser Basin before heading south to Old Faithful. This was a great geyser warm-up and some a very unique landscape that I’m glad we didn’t miss. Yellowstone is an amazing National Park that includes so many unique and diverse areas in one site.
From the beautiful Yellowstone Lake, to the white vast landscape of Norris Geysers to the majestic rhyolite sculptures of Mammoth to the plains of Hayden, the wilderness of Roosevelt and Serengeti of Lamar: Yellowstone can be hardly captured by one scene or setting – you’ll need to roam to see its diversity and Norris is one of the Top 10 to see!